Preseason Team Countdown: No. 17 Nazareth



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the top 75 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: Nazareth
Preseason Rank:
17
2013 Record:
27-12-1
Conference:
East Suburban Catholic
IHSA Class:
3A
Head Coach:
Lee Milano
Playoff Run: Lost in Supersectional (St. Francis)
2013 Final Rank: Not Ranked

Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers:
5

TOP PLAYERS
Peter Minella, LHP, 2014 (Western Illinois)
Tim DalPorto, SS/C, 2014 (Kent State)
Jake Bartels, RHP/1B, 2014
Andrew Barreto, OF, 2014
Michael Greene, RHP, 2014
Mike Kogut, RHP, 2015

X-FACTOR
Mike Kogut
. Nazareth has plenty of pitching depth, headlined by Minella and Bartels. However, if the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Kogut begins to harness is upper-80s fastball and throws consistent strikes, the Roadrunners can have another dominant force in their stable.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Brandon Bossard. The athletic two-way talent is one of the premier middle infield prospects in the 2016 class, and reportedly is very good on the mound as well.

KEY PLAYER LOST

Mike Stromberg, Catcher

STAT RAT
Peter Minella
earned victories in Nazareth’s regional championship and both sectional games last year. Minella finished 7-2 with a 2.26 ERA as a junior.

OUTLOOK
Nazareth has become a mainstay in the Class 3A state playoffs recently. The Roadrunners narrowly missed their third consecutive trip to the state semifinals last year, losing in the supersectional to Grayslake Central. Prior to that, coach Lee Milano had guided his squads to consecutive third-place finishes. Once again, the Roadrunners should be primed for another significant postseason run. They feature a deep, talented and experienced pitching staff, led by Minella, Bartels, Greene and Kogut. Minella, a strike-throwing left-hander, is committed to Western Illinois. Bartels, a 6-foot-4 right-hander who is also the school’s quarterback, is a three-year standout and is still uncommitted. Kogut, who’s one of the top right-handed pitching prospects in Illinois’ 2015 class, has been up to 90 in the winter. Milano has plenty of returning experience in the field as well. DalPorto is a three-year starter who should anchor the offense. Look for sophomore INF/SS Brandon Bossard to make a significant impact this spring. Bossard has all the tools to become one of the most heavily recruited 2016 prospects in the state. Junior OF Matt Flach and C Drew Dunker should also factor into the Roadrunners’ success. Milano said his team has depth across the board.

BOTTOM LINE
Nazareth should be right in the thick of the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference race with the likes of defending champion Joliet Catholic, Carmel, Benet and others. No matter how the Roadrunners finish in the regular season, they are a near lock to make another significant playoff run given their weak sectional they compete in every year. Regardless of the competition level, Nazareth has the horses and experience to make another trip to Joliet come June.

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Season Countdown

+ Preseason Team Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Player Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2014 Player Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

2014 IL Top Prospect Slide